Tampa man carries on a plumbing legacy
by Paul F. P. Pogue
Jerry Lawson started plumbing in 1972, but meeting Ray Scotto led him to embrace being a businessman as well. They founded Scotto's Plumbing together in 1979. "I was young, just getting started, and he was in his 60s and ready to retire," Lawson says. "So we didn't have the kinds of conflicts partners often have. He'd been a businessman his whole life, so he helped me learn the business side."
Scotto passed away in 2005, but his influence is still felt. "It was a real blessing to know him and get the business going," Lawson says. "He was like a father to me and a grandfather to my kids."
Lawson and his 20 employees continue the company's long tradition of dedicated service. "At every staff meeting, I emphasize to our technicians that they need to treat the clients like they were working on their mother's house," Lawson says. "It's easy to become numb to the business and think of it as just another backup or just another flood, but when it's in your house, it's a traumatic event. We want our service to reflect that importance and treat our customers well."
The staff ranges in age from 29 to 65, with experience levels ranging from a few years to decades, and Lawson feels this depth improves their work. "All our guys help each other and share knowledge, and when we're at a regular customer's house and have a question, they can just call the last guy who was there," he says.
Scotto's also donates services to religious community organizations and supports Fostering Hope Florida, which benefits children in foster care.
They perform both commercial and residential work, but the majority of their 17,000 clients are homeowners. "There will always be leaks, floods and backups, and if you don't have hot water, it's always an emergency," he says.
Angie's List member Daniel Herzog of Pinellas Park is one of Scotto's regular customers; he most recently hired them to replace an old sink. "I've used this company many times, and I'll continue to do so in the future," he says.